Editor’s note: Cross, Fernandez & Riley LLP recently released the results of its Fourth Annual Central Florida Public Charities Survey in partnership with the Community Foundation of Central Florida. The survey, a way for the firm to give back to the Central Florida nonprofit community, serves as a vital benchmarking tool to area charities. In 2012, 137 nonprofits throughout Central Florida participated, an increase from 114 the previous year. The results are published, allowing any nonprofit to gauge how they measure up. The survey includes operations, human resources, governance, development/volunteerism and strategic planning. These results provide valuable information, not only to management involved in the day-to-day operations of a nonprofit, but also to board members, donors and the community.
The governance section provides insight into how the boards operate. It includes questions on term limits for board members, orientation processes and evaluations, as well as whether audit services are required and, if so, how often. Though this section can lead to comparisons between how individual nonprofits are governed, there are also sections of the results that board members may find useful relating to the operations side of the organization.
Board members will benefit from reviewing the human resources section of the results. The survey asked its participants to name the top three issues regarding employment satisfaction, with the biggest concerns as follows: compensation (75 percent), benefits (57.1 percent) and communication (51.9 percent). Among other issues were work environment, flexibility in work schedules and management-employee relations.
The organizations that participated in the survey were also asked to list the top three greatest obstacles encountered in 2012. Among the highest concerns listed in the strategic planning section of the results were cutbacks in funding/drops in revenue (73.6 percent), lack of adequate discretionary funds (43.8 percent) and rising costs (38.8 percent). Other major concerns: attracting quality leadership for the organization and an excess demand for services.
If you are involved in a nonprofit, you already know that fundraising is essential. According to First Research, a division of Hoover’s Inc., 75 percent of public charities’ revenues come from program services, such as tuition or patient charges, while less than 15 percent come from contributions, gifts and grants. The development/volunteerism section of the results breaks down exactly what percentage each type of fundraising activity contributes to the organization’s total revenues. Similar to previous years, special events account for the majority of revenues, with 49.4 percent of those surveyed reporting an increase in funds derived from such events. The results also indicate the largest percentage of growth for 2012 was from individual contributions, with 59.7 percent of the organizations seeing an increase in this group. The results also cite the Internet as a growing source of fundraising and contributions. Despite this growth, 45.3 percent of the organizations polled do not employ any type of e-philanthropy. This may cause such organizations to miss out on new and slightly unexpected donor groups. Donations from Millennials and Generation Xers (anyone born between 1983 and 2000) are steadily increasing, and this rise can be attributed to fundraising through social media and e-mail.
Aside from monetary contributions, most nonprofits rely on support from community volunteers. For 2012, 48.8 percent of the nonprofits surveyed reported an increase in volunteer involvement. Though almost half reported an increase, this number is down from 2011’s survey, which documented that 54.9 percent experienced an increase in volunteers.
Although many of the nonprofits surveyed did note an increase in those willing to help the cause; 56.5 percent saw a rise in the number of people impacted by their organization. Local nonprofits seem optimistic about the growth of their respective charities, with 72 percent reporting they will experience an expansion and 69.1 percent planning to introduce new programs, an increase from 46 percent in 2011.
editor’s note: carter myers is an orlando-based writer with cross, fernandez & riley llp. the survey results are complimentary and published on c/f/r’s website at cfrcpa.com. to request a copy of the survey or to be included in this year’s survey mailing list, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.